Indian conglomerate Adani Group is all set to develop Sri Lanka’s thwarted East Container Terminal in the Port of Colombo. As per the information from the matter experts, this deal will help billionaire Gautam Adani to set his foot in port business overseas. Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd. along with a local partner have received in-principle consent to sign a deal with Sri Lanka Ports Authority, which will hold a majority stake in the project, they added.
Details of the stakeholding are still being decided upon after reviewing the project, as earlier, labour protests had stalled the deal before the parliamentary elections in August, they said. India’s foreign ministry and the Adani Group refrained from giving an immediate response to the comments that were raised about the matter.
Sri Lanka began revamping the trade and investment relations with India before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. India extended a $400 million currency swap facility to Colombo in July to help the country with its post-pandemic economic revamping process. The two neighbours also discussed the deferring of debt repayment during Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s first high-tech virtual meeting since his re-election alongside Indian PM Narendra Modi in September.
Sri Lanka, which revived from a three-decade-long civil war in 2009, was known for taking loans from China to fund its vast infrastructure projects, including ports and highways, that eventually were included as a part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. Its need for Chinese cash soared after rising debt pressurised them to sell the Hambantota port back to China Merchants Port Holdings.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s port authority, last week began operations in certain parts of the East Container Terminal which has been already constructed, said, Chairman Daya Ratnayake.
The deal signed between Sri Lanka’s former government with India and Japan “is still on,” he stated. The Sri Lankan government “is in discussions on how to operationalize it,” he further added.